One of my favorite passages of scripture was proclaimed this past weekend. Might I share it with you? And then, I would like to offer a thought or two…
The Peaceful Kingdom [Isaiah 11:1-10 NRSV]
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples;
the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.”
As the words were spoken, they took on a new sense of life for me—I have ached for hope and for a time of peace for this global community of which we are all members. Isaiah’s words bring to my mind a place of diversity, respect and peaceable living. This second week of Advent waiting is a good time for me to reflect on such hope and peace.
My prayer tonight is a paraphrase of this scripture:
Once, O God
You promised that hope
Would spring in barren times
Like a shoot from a branch believed dead
Broken and empty of life.
In that miracle, others would follow
And leaders would arise
Filled with every gift of your Holy Spirit:
Wisdom, understanding, counsel
Might, knowledge and awe of the Divine.
Those gifts would become works of mercy
Is this not
What we are asked
In every moment
And in each act of our lives?
Will this blessing
The broken and oppressed
In every shape and form
Every age race creed color sexual orientation and gender?
These are my Isaiah questions O God.
I long to find us all
In your peaceable kingdom
On your Holy Mountain.
Soon and very soon…